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Motorists reminded of heightened law enforcement effort over holiday


September 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Many Iowans will be hitting the road over the Labor Day weekend and they’re being reminded to buckle up, obey the speed limit and play it safe. Randy Hunefeld with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says the last holiday weekend of the summer can be a dangerous one on Iowa’s roads because too many people are driving drunk. Last year, there were four traffic fatalities in Iowa over the Labor Day weekend. “Two of those were alcohol related,” Hunefeld said. “Even though our (fatality) numbers are good, unless we have zero, they’re not good enough.”

Hunefeld is coordinator of bureau’s special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP). The agency is conducting a sTEP wave that started August 23 and run through next Wednesday. Hunefeld warns that the heightened enforcement effort means motorists will have a better chance of getting caught if they’re breaking traffic laws.  “The most important thing is be cautious of other drivers, make sure you’re buckled up and driving the speed limit,” Hunefeld said. “And if you do decide to go out drinking over the Labor Day weekend, be responsible, because there will be plenty of law enforcement officers out looking for ya.” During Iowa’s last sTEP project, over the July 4 holiday, law officers made contact with more than 15,600 motorists. That included 295 contacts with alcohol and drug-impaired drivers.

(Radio Iowa)

Cellulosic Ethanol Plant may be in store for Atlantic


August 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Prospects for an ethanol plant project in Atlantic may be renewed thanks to a client of PlanScape Partners in Clear Lake, who is interested in building a 25-million gallon second-generation ethanol production facility in the Amaizing Energy Urban Renewal Area.

Kathy Schowalter with PlanScape Partners explains the Cellulosic Ethanol plant project proposal.

Kathy Schowalter of PlanScape Partners made a presentation Friday morning to the Cass County Board of Supervisors on behalf of Ron Fagen, CEO of Granite Falls, Minnesota-based Fagen, Incorporated, for a Cellulosic ethanol plant.

Schowalter said no commercial cellulosic ethanol plants currently exist anywhere in the country, and there are only a trio of smaller projects in the works. If a cellulosic ethanol plant is eventually built in Atlantic, it would using corn stover. The by-poducts would be Lignin, which is a corn starch, and of course, ethanol. Schowalter says the end product is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel. She said stover for the plant would be collected from suppliers in a 50-to75-mile radius of Atlantic, and it would also be a boon to Cass County by bringing in younger workers, more families and quality jobs, and extra revenue for farmers.

Schowalter says it needs 350,000 tons of corn stover. It will cost about $250-million dollars to build, and create a conservative $25-million in new property tax revenue. She says the plant could also create some spin-off industries and make a positive impact on current businesses. It could employ 40 to 45-people, with a payroll of $1.8-million. Schowalter said in order for the project to be competitive with State and Federal incentives given to other ethanol plant projects…the funds for which she says are drying-up…there has to be a local contract for assistance.

Schowalter asked the Board of Supervisors to consider local assistance in the form of: a property tax exemption until production begins; 50% property tax exemption/rebate for ten years after production begins; and assistance with applications for State and Federal incentives. Even with an agreement in-place, the permitting process she says will take up to a year once investors are secured, construction on the plant itself would take 18-to 24-months. The Board took the proposal under advisement, and will render a decision by October 10th.


Ag/Outdoor, News

August 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) say unseasonably warm weather and water temperatures have prompted concerns about microcystin, a product of blue-green algae. There are currently advisories for total microcystins for the beaches on Big Creek Lake near Saylorville, Green Valley Lake north of Creston, and Rock Creek Lake near Kellogg.  Blue-green algae can grow quickly and become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight – conditions that have been prevalent throughout the state this summer. Because the conditions are conducive to blue-green algae growth, people and pets should not be in contact with water that has a poor appearance.

The appearance can be a pea-green or blue-green color, but also a reddish-brown. It may appear with scum, foam or as a thick mat on the water surface. Blue-green algae can grow quickly and become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. The main risk to humans from microcystin is skin irritations and rashes, but if the water is swallowed or airborne droplets are inhaled during swimming, bathing or showering, symptoms could be worse. Those would include headaches, nausea, abdominal pain, seizures, liver injury and respiratory problems.

Precautions that should be taken to prevent health-related problems due to harmful algal blooms include:  Don’t swim, water ski or boat in areas where the water is discolored or if there is foam, scum or mats of algae on the water;  If you come in contact with water that might have a harmful algal bloom, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible; Don’t let pets or livestock swim in or drink from areas where water is discolored, of if there is foam, scum or mats of algae on the water; Don’t let pets (especially dogs) lick the algae off their fur after swimming in scummy water; Don’t irrigate lawns or golf courses with pond water that looks scummy or has a bad odor; Don’t drink the water. Boiling the water will not make it safe to drink.

(Update) Elderly Omaha man dies in Cass County crash


August 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol has identified the victim of a fiery crash Friday morning on Interstate 80 in Cass County. Officials say 81-year old Joseph E. Moorman, of Omaha, died after the 2012 Ford Expedition he was driving on I-80 eastbound,crashed into burned at around 10:05-a.m.  The SUV left the road at the 72-mile marker, entered the median and continued east in the median before leaving the median and launching into the east embankment at 770th, under the overpass. The vehicle burst into flames after coming to rest upright. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Atlantic Fire Chief warns about field fires


August 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The hot and dry conditions at harvest time make for quick and explosive field fires. Atlantic Fire Chief Mark McNees says anyone using farm equipment, ATV’s and other such off-road and/or in the field type of machines, to have a fire extinguisher handy at all times. McNees says keeping your combines and other such equipment clean, is also very important to preventing field fires, along with being aware of your surroundings. Thursday morning, a hot bearing on a hay bailer caused a field fire south of Wiota. No injuries were reported.

Creston woman, diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, says RNC was on her “bucket list”


August 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The just-concluded 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa has been both exhausting and exhilarating for one Iowa delegate. Sixty-seven-year-old Ruth Long of Creston has dreamed of being a national convention delegate for years. “It was on my bucket list,” Long said Thursday. Long has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and it has spread to her bones.

Negotiating the bus system and the vast convention hall was tiring, but Long’s fellow Iowans and Florida-based volunteers helped, plus Long used a wheelchair so she didn’t have to stand for long periods of time. Long was beaming Thursday morning when she talked with Radio Iowa and reflected on her convention experience. “It’s my very first national convention. My first trip to Florida. My very first experience with a hurricane which came close but, praise the Lord, it went the other way,” Long said, laughing. Long is a certified public accountant and she’s intrigued by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, the G-O-P’s vice presidential nomineee.

“I am so impressed with that young man and his intelligence,” Long said. “He just seems to have it together on what we need to do in this country.” Long believes Ryan and Mitt Romney are a “formidable” team. Long’s been part of the Republican Party’s local team in the Creston area for about 15 years. “My dad was real active and I didn’t get active until my children were grown and I started to realize, ‘Hey, there are some things out there that need attention,’ and I can’t say to others, ‘You go take care of that’ all the time,” Long said. “Some time the buck has to stop here and you’ve got to get with the program.” Long’s treatment program had included chemo and radiation and now Long’s just taking what she refers to as “a little pill.”

“You know you have a good day when you go to see your oncologist and he says, ‘I am thrilled,'” Long said, laughing. “You know, if you can thrill your oncologist, it’s a super day.” Long is scheduled to meet with her doctor next week, on Tuesday. Long had hoped to be called to Florida last week, before the national convention started, to serve on the platform committee. “I have a lot of experience at the state level on the platform committee, however as an alternate delegate, I was not eligible. I guess I’m going to have to put this back on my bucket list and come again four years from now,” Long said, laughing.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Arrest and theft reported in Clarinda


August 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Clarinda Police Department reports a Blair, Nebraska man was arrested Thursday, on a felony theft charge. 18-year old Tristan Lee Bartlett was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant out of Nebraska, for felony theft by unlawful taking. Bartlett was being held in the Page County Jail pending extradition to Nebraska.

And, the Clarinda P-D is investigating the theft of about 15-gallons of gasoline from a vehicle owned by a person in the 600 block of west Lincoln Street. The gas was siphoned from the vehicle sometime between August 26th and 29th. No arrests have been made in connection with the theft.

Minor injury accident reported in Audubon County


August 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Department says only minor injuries were reported following an accident Wednesday evening in Hamlin. Officials say a vehicle driven by 68-year old Connie Lola Nissen, of Hamlin, was traveling west on Highway 44 at around 6-p.m., and had stopped at the intersection with Highway 71 before proceeding west. As Nissen entered the intersection, the 2002 Ford Windstar van she was driving was hit by a 1993 Oldsmobile traveling south, on Highway 71.

The driver of the car was identified as 32-year old Angel Marie Siepker, of Audubon. Two people in her vehicle were transported by Audubon Fire and Rescue to the Audubon County Memorial Hospital, for treatment of minor injuries. Damage from the crash amounted to $14,000. The accident remains under investigation, and charges are pending.

I-80 fatal in Cass County


August 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

One person has died in a fiery crash along Interstate 80 in far northeastern Cass County, this (Friday) morning. The accident happened at the 72-mile marker. Firefighters from Anita, Adair and Wiota responded to the scene at around 10:30-a.m. Anita Fire Chief Duane Murphy told KJAN News  the vehicle was traveling on Interstate 80 when it went off the road between two overhead bridges to 770th Street and landed next to a guardrail, off to the side of 770th.

The vehicle crashed and erupted into flames, trapping the victim inside. Murphy said it was impossible to tell what kind of vehicle it was, because the damage was so extensive. Authorities say it may have been a rental car. The accident remains under investigation by the Iowa State Patrol.

8AM Newscast 08-31-2012

News, Podcasts

August 31st, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson