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Regulators to give update on Nebraska nuke plant


May 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal regulators will offer an update on the performance of a troubled Nebraska nuclear plant since it restarted late last year. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to hold the meeting in Omaha on Tuesday. Fort Calhoun, which sits about 20 miles north of Omaha, had been off line from April 2011 until December.

It initially shut down for routine maintenance, but significant flooding in 2011, a small fire and a series of safety violations forced it to remain closed for more than two years. It has been forced to shut down briefly several times since it restarted.

The meeting will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Omaha Marriot at 10220 Regency Circle.

Woman arrested in Council Bluffs had numerous fake ID’s & checks


May 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs say a woman arrested late Tuesday at hardware store had 30 counterfeit checks and nine fake ID’s in her possession. The Daily NonPareil reports 34-year old Amy Jo Hockabout, of Council Bluffs, was arrested around 9:20 p.m. at Menards on Manawa Centre Drive after she tried to purchase more than $170 worth of merchandise.Sgt. David Dawson with the department’s Criminal Investigation Division said authorities were alerted by Menards security that Hockabout was attempting to pass a bad check.

Amy Jo Hockabout (C.B. P.D. booking photo)

Amy Jo Hockabout (C.B. P.D. booking photo)

Council Bluffs police officers arrived and found 30 counterfeit checks on Hockabout – 27 belonging to a pair of private citizens and three forgeries of checks from Nebraska Precious Metals of Omaha – along with nine fake driver’s licenses. Officers arrested the woman on suspicion of 30 counts of forgery, nine counts of falsifying public documents and for interference with official acts. Each forgery and falsification count is a Class D felony and carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Hockabout is a familiar face to those in the ‘Bluffs P-D. Dawson said she pleaded guilty in 2010 to forgery and probation violation and was arrested for second-degree theft and drug possession in July of 2013. Most recently, she was arrested in mid-March of this year on seven counts of forgery, two counts of falsifying public documents and ongoing criminal conduct, and was out on bond.

She also has warrants out of Douglas County, Neb., for fraud, identity theft and other forgery-related crimes, according to Douglas County Corrections. After her latest arrest, Hockabout remains at the Pottawattamie County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., May 8th 2014


May 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa City man has been accused of using a pocket knife to slash another man after finding him in bed with his estranged wife. Iowa City police say 24-year-old Austin Chadderdon faces a felony charge of willful injury causing bodily injury. The man was treated at a nearby hospital and released. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports Chadderdon was detained briefly at the Johnson County Jail.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — Hundreds of people turned out to get a glimpse inside the historic Tallcorn Towers in Marshalltown after an $11 million restoration. The Marshalltown Times-Republican reports people who gathered for an open house Tuesday were especially impressed with the remodeled ballroom. Others noted the plaster work, windows and chandeliers.

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — An American Legion post has donated a 93-year-old signature quilt to the Louisa County Heritage Center, following research on the 200 names on the quilt. American Legion post Number 27 donated the quilt Monday. The Muscatine Journal reports it will be on display at the center as part of its regular exhibit and a quilt and needlework show.

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A minor league team of the Seattle Mariners has pulled off a major rally, coming back from a 16-run deficit to win in the Class A Midwest League. The Clinton LumberKings trailed the Burlington Bees 17-1 after five innings Wednesday night in the game between clubs based in Iowa. Clinton wound up winning 20-17 in 12 innings.

Audubon City Council fires City Clerk, appoint local man to fill the position


May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Audubon Wednesday, appointed a new City Clerk and voted to terminate the employment of long-time City Clerk Lora Hansen. Both motions were not unanimous, though, as Councilman Bob Jacobsen provided the lone nay votes. Soon after the meeting began, the Council entered into a closed session that lasted nearly an hour, to hold interviews with two candidates for the City Clerks position. The candidates were identified as Kandi Tague, from Mechanicsville, Virginia (formerly of Audubon), and Joseph E. Faron, of Audubon.

After going into a closed session to interview two candidates for the position of City Clerk, Councilman Jason Hocker motioned to appoint Foran to the post, with John Whetzal providing the second. Councilman Jacobsen voted no, saying that it was his opinion Tague was better qualified for the job. Steve Stetzel, who was in the audience, questioned whether there was a possible conflict of interest in Hocker having voted to approve Faron. Stetzel asked Hocker if Faron’s wife works for Hocker at a beterinary clinic, and he acknowledged she did. Hocker said he voted for Faron, however, based on his merits.

Hocker didn’t say during the meeting, if he felt his action was a conflict of interest. Afterward though, he told reporters his vote was an honest mistake, but that with the 4-1 vote to remove her, it didn’t matter. Prior to a vote on the removal of Lora Hansen from office, the public demanded to know what the reasons were. Councilman Jacobsen read from the Order of Removal. The list with 14 reasons, also appeared on a big screen t-v for the audience to see. The first few reasons given were for questionable financial practices. That included “Her refusal to keep the library checkbook or use accounting practices in accordance with the Library Board’s request.” Another reason was “Her unilateral rejection of a budget increase request by the Library Board, without bringing said request to the City Council.” And, Hansen reportedly failed to provide financial documents to the Council in a timely manner.”IMG_20140507_172829_902

Other issues the Council had with Hansen dealt with technology issues, such as the posting of meeting meetings and agendas on the City’s website, and failure to use e-mails. And, there were concerns about an error in the budget, which the Council contended Hansen brought to the Audubon newspaper before presenting it to the Council. That statement was later refuted by someone who said the Audubon County Advocate Journal discovered the budget error and brought it to Hansen’s attention, not the other way around. The last item of contention dealt with Hansen’s public relations skills.

The item said “Comments by citizens in the community about a lack of customer service at City Hall.” Several persons in the audience attempted to offer evidence or opinions that defended Hansen’s alleged actions, but the Council, with Jacobsen objecting, voted to remove her anyway. She does have 30-days to request a public hearing upon receipt of a certified letter stating her “Order of Removal.”

After the meeting adjourned, Barb Jacobsen of Audubon paused to recognize Hansen’s years of service to the city. Nearly everyone in the audience applauded Hansen.

New Iowa livestock farm rule hearings underway

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — While Iowa environmental regulators hold public hearings on a new proposed rule designed to improve water quality through better enforcement of livestock farms, significant manure spills are occurring and highlighting problems the state faces managing a growing livestock industry.

It’s a difficult balance Iowa must find between encouraging livestock production that generates billions of dollars a year in sales and handling the waste generating by 60 million chickens, 20 million pigs, and 4 million cows.

The DNR is holding six hearings around the state over the next week on its proposed rule environmental groups and others say is too weak.

The group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says the rule should require livestock farms to obtain clean water permits to provide regulators leverage to halt frequent manure spills.

Effort to expand Highway 20 to four-lanes across state


May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The long-running effort to create a new east-west thoroughfare across northern Iowa is marking another milestone. Shirley Phillips, president of the Highway 20 Corridor Association, says a new stretch of the four-lane road is under construction in northwest Iowa’s Woodbury County. “That would be a stretch that would be from three miles east of Moville to Correctionville and then through Correctionville,” Phillips says. “We hope to have the westbound two lanes from east of Moville to Minnesota Avenue completed by the end of 2016 and from Moville to east of Correctionville should all be finished by 2018.” Phillips says one piece of the puzzle is still going to be missing.

“The bad news is, the 30-point-five miles that are left between Highway 71 at Early and Correctionville are not in the program,” she says. By that, she means the state has no immediate plan to complete the project so the roadway runs all the way across Iowa four lanes. Completing the 30-mile stretch from Early to Correctionville is evidently not on the drawing board and there is no timetable for it.

“With a gap that small to complete the additional four-lane east-west corridor across the state of Iowa, it would be crazy not to funnel some funding toward that project,” she says. “The Moville to Correctionville stretch is by far the most expensive and cumbersome portion of the highway to complete, so once that is finished, we would hope they would continue to push eastward from Correctionville.” The next meeting of the Highway 20 Corridor Association will be in Sioux City on July 11th.

(Radio Iowa)

Audubon City Council to act on clerk appointment tonight


May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon City Council will hold a Special City Council meeting this evening with regard to the hiring of a City Clerk. The agenda says the Council is expected to conduct interviews for the City Clerk’s position, with the right reserved to enter into a closed session for those interviews under Iowa Code. Afterward, the Council may act on the appointment of a City Clerk, and the removal of the current City Clerk.

The City Clerk’s position has been an ongoing issue since mid-January, when the Council voted to appoint someone else to the job. The Council has been under fire ever since then for alleged violations of the Open Meetings and Open Records Laws, and for repeated mis-steps in their handling of the matter.

In other business, the Council will act on approving a remediation plan. The meeting begins at 5:30-p.m.

Harlan City Administrator receives Public Works Award


May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Harlan City Administrator Terry Cox has received a prestigious award from the American Public Works Association (APWA). Cox was named as one of the 2014 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year. According to the APWA website, “the selection of a Top Ten list of exceptional public works professionals has been a cornerstone of National Public Works Week. The program has identified more than 400 men and women who reflect the highest standards of professional conduct for public works officials. These honorees have been recognized for discharging critical responsibilities in connection to the design, construction, maintenance and/or operation of major public works projects or activities in large and small municipalities throughout North America. Often their accomplishments are particularly noteworthy in relation to the limited manpower and financial resources available to them.”
The National Public Works Week will be held from May 18th-24th. In conjunction with the award, The Iowa Chapter of the APWA will hold an awards ceremony for Cox on Tuesday, May 13th at the Therkildsen Activity Center in Harlan from 3:30 to 6pm with the award presentation at 4:30pm. Cox said at the meeting Tuesday, the award is a great honor. “I want to thank all the councils and mayors that helped me be involved in APW because they don’t just call Harlan, Iowa Nationwide. Being involved and stuff has given me career goals. It doesn’t just happen without everyone here and the employees. It is a great honor. Thanks.”

Anyone wanting to attend the awards ceremony for City Administrator Terry Cox, contact Harlan City hall by Friday, May 9th at 712-755-5137. In other news, the Harlan City Council approved two maintenance agreements during their meeting Tuesday evening. The first service agreement was for the city sirens with BVPS. City Administrator Terry Cox said it was an annual expense for the sirens and the company will work with Harlan Fire Chief Roger Bissen.

The maintenance project will cost the city about $3,800. The second agreement came in a form of a resolution with the Iowa Department of Transportation for clean up at the Harlan Airport. The city of Harlan is applying for grant money provided by the Iowa DOT in the sum of $26,000 with a local share of 15 percent or $3,900. The local funding will come from the Airport Capital Equipment Revolving Fund Reserves. Cox said the clean up for obstruction removal at the airport is a safety issue as the city needs to clean up trees on the north end of the airport. Cox said once the grant funding is approved, the project will begin.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

8AM Newscast 05-07-2014

News, Podcasts

May 7th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


(Podcast) 7-a.m. News/funeral announcements: 5/7/2014

News, Podcasts

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.