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Emerald Ash Borer confirmed in Union County

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources report the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been positively identified in a residential tree in the city of Creston, in Union County. It’s the fifth location where the invasive beetle has been found in Iowa. EAB kills all ash tree species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.

The current EAB infestation was found as a result of an arborist contacting state officials about a suspect ash tree. Investigation by the Iowa EAB Team members revealed characteristic galleries and D-shaped exit holes in dead branches, and a partial adult beetle was positively identified by federal identifiers.

EAB infestations had previously been discovered in Allamakee County in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, Jefferson County in August 2013 and Cedar County in October 2013. A quarantine covering 25 counties in Eastern Iowa was issued on Nov. 1, 2013 intended to slow the accidental movement of EAB by humans.  An additional quarantine in response to this new confirmed infestation is being developed. A quarantine restricts movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of the quarantined counties.

The Iowa EAB Team strongly cautions Iowans not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB even further. Most EAB infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly short distances, approximately 2 to 5 miles.

Ash is one of the most abundant native tree species in North America, and has been heavily planted as a landscape tree in yards and other urban areas. According to the USDA Forest Service, Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and approximately 3.1 million more ash trees in urban areas. It is unknown how many public and residential ash trees are located in Creston.

7AM Newscast 12-19-2013

News, Podcasts

December 19th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Air show will return to Offutt Air Force Base


December 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha will again host an open house and air show this summer.  The event will return July 19 and 20 after a break last summer caused by budget problems amid spending negotiations in Congress.  The air show will include performances by the Blue Angels, the Navy’s flight demonstration team. It will be the team’s first visit to Offutt since 2009.

More information on the plans will be posted on a website when they’re available at www.offuttairshow.com

Special School Board meeting in Atlantic tonight (12/19/13)


December 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School Board will decide during a Special meeting tonight at 8 o’clock in the High School Media Center, which of the two school expansion concepts will be voted on by School District Patrons. The board has previously discussed Concepts 1 and 2, after school administrators provided their input on how the grade levels might fall into place and where those classrooms might be within the building with each one of those concepts.

Concept 1 includes: moving the Pre-K back to Washington Elementary and adding two Pre-K classrooms, one special education classroom and a new dining facility. This option also includes a new media center at Schuler, additional toilets, and eight new classrooms. The expansion would also include a new dining facility at the Middle School and three to eight additional classrooms at the high school along with an expanded art room. The price tag on this option is around $8.7 million.

Concept 2 is a little more dramatic. It includes: two Pre-K Classrooms, one Special Education Classroom and a new dining facility at Washington. There are two options at Schuler with this plan, an additional Special Education Classroom, or an additional art room and music center or three to eight additional classrooms at the high school. This plan would also include the construction of a brand new 80,000 square foot Middle School attached to the high school and a brand new competition Gymnasium. The cost of this project would be around $20 million.

The Design Alliance Architectural firm originally drafted five concepts. Following a public meeting and discussions with the personnel and staff, they narrowed it down to the two options.

Community meeting this afternoon on Regionalization of Mental Health Svcs.


December 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A reminder to persons interested in the Mental Health and Disability Services, that the second of three public meetings with regard to the Regionalization of those services, will be held this afternoon, in Oakland. Counties formed Regions in response to State law affecting funding for the Mental Health and Disabilities Services in Iowa.

The Southwest Region includes nine counties (Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawatttamie and Shelby). Local advisory and Community input meetings have been scheduled to take place across the Southwest Region. Cass County Mental Health/General Relief Coordinator Teresa Kanning said the next meeting will be held this afternoon, at the Oakland Community Center [614 Dr. Van Zee Road, in Oakland]).

The meeting begins at 3-pm and runs until 5-p.m. In the event of a bad weather, it will be held January 7th at the same location. The public is invited to attend the session to provide input into the current mental health service system, including what you feel works and doesn’t work. It’s also designed to: develop ideas for future service needs, including Crisis Response in rural areas; Build relationships and interest in participating in Local Advisory Councils, and to provide an overview of the developing region’s progress, administrative structure, future board and advisory structure, and current service systems.

Anyone who is a consumer of mental health services, family members of those using mental health and disability services, community mental health/developmentally disabled service providers and those interested in being a part of forming the Southwest Iowa MH/DS Region, is urged to attend. The meeting is being facilitated by Beth Morrissette, Executive Director of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Network.

If you miss today’s meeting in Oakland, there will be a final session in Harrison County, January 21st,  at the Dunlap City Hall.

Iowa News Headlines: Thu., Dec. 19th 2013


December 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer isn’t saying if he’ll run for president in 2016. But if he does, he thinks he can connect with Iowa voters. Schweitzer, a Democrat who served as governor from 2005 through early 2013, visited Iowa yesterday. He spoke in front of about 100 people at an event hosted by a liberal advocacy group.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad has suspended rules limiting the work hour of truck drivers who haul propane. Branstad announce his action yesterday evening. It’s effective today and will continue through January 2nd. Branstad signed a proclamation saying the suspension of work rules is necessary because of a shortage of propane.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — A group of researchers have established a center for Arctic studies at the University of Northern Iowa. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the National Science Foundation awarded a $749,000 grant to Andrew Petrov, a UNI assistant professor of geography, to run the program over the next five years.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Trevor Berkeley drilled his only 3-pointer of the game as Drake scored six points in the final 16 seconds to rally past Western Michigan 71-68 last night. Jacob Enevold Jensen scored 16 points for Drake, which improved to 7 and 3. Jordan Daniels added 14 with seven assists, and Chris Caird had 10 points for the Bulldogs in Des Moines.

Atlantic City Council approves real estate sales; Reminds residents to shovel their sidewalks


December 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, approved the sale of City owned properties at 807 Elm and 203 Locust Streets. Mayor Dave Jones said there was only one bid for the property at 807 Elm Street. The Council approved the lone bid of $1,000 submitted by Janet Jordan. Jones said there were three bids for the property at 203 Locust Street. The Council accepted a bid of $2,050 from ROMAR Investments (Robert and Marlo Stamp). Other bidders included Janet Jordan, who submitted her bid of $1,000 and Chuck Templeman, whose bid of amounted to $2,000. All bidders had previously agreed to provide a performance guarantee to demolish the buildings on the properties and remove them from the site.

In other business, City Administrator Doug Harris and Mayor Dave Jones reminded residents of their obligation under City Ordinance, to shovel their sidewalks within 72 hours of the end of a snow event. Harris said the City received complaints after the last snowstorm from citizens, about some sidewalks not being shoveled. The Mayor says the City will follow-up on those complaints as they are received, and make the property owners aware of their responsibility to provide a safe walking environment.

Atlantic City Council members retire, new members sworn-in


December 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic City Councilmen Steve Livengood and Shawn Shouse were recognized for their years of service to the City during the Council’s regular session Wednesday night. Both men opted not to seek re-election last November. Livengood has served on the Council in the At Large position for the past eight-years, numerous committees and as Mayor Pro-Tem on several occasions. Mayor Dave Jones read from plaques commemorating the service of both men. First up was Livengood.

Steve Livengood receives his plaque from Mayor Jones.

Steve Livengood receives his plaque from Mayor Jones.

Jones said Livengood’s diligence, dedication and exemplary service has inspired many people to witness a “true public servant who quietly and tirelessly labored to help others and make Atlantic a better place to live.” He said his humor and inspired service will be greatly missed. Shouse has been on the Council for the past four-years as the 5th Ward representative. He too has served on numerous committees and commissions. Jones pointed out Shouse was always meticulous in making sure City documents and procedures were followed correctly, making sure the “I’s” were dotted and the “T’s” crossed.

Shawn Shouse receives his plaque from the Mayor.

Shawn Shouse receives his plaque from the Mayor.

He said Shouse had taken the City’s lawyer “To task a couple of times…has been fair about his concerns…we’ve had some disagreements, but Shaun’s always been good for the Council and everything else.” Afterward Livengood and Shouse spoke about their experiences in City government. Livengood said people have said being a Councilperson is a “Thankless job,” but in his experience, it isn’t. He said “If it’s a thankless job, you’re doing it wrong.” Shouse said “It’s been a really interesting learning experience, and I would encourage other folks to consider it…it’s been fun, actually.”

The Mayor then issued the oath of office to Lori Stuart, who will succeed Shouse, Bob Cord, who replaces Livengood, and Councilperson Kathy Somers, who was unopposed in her bid for re-election to the 2nd Ward. City Clerk Deb Field issued the oath of office to Dave Jones, who was re-elected for a second term, in November.

Mayor Jones directs returning Councilperson Kathy Somers (Center), and newly elected Councilpersons Stuart and Cord in reciting the Oath of Office.

Mayor Jones directs returning Councilperson Kathy Somers (Center), and newly elected Councilpersons Stuart and Cord in reciting the Oath of Office.

CCHS to create new hospital chapel space


December 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials at Cass County Health System recently announced plans for a new chapel to be installed in the Cass County Memorial Hospital. ““Having a centrally accessible space for patients and families to have a quiet moment is an important part overall health,” explained Pat Markham, CEO. “With our recent expansion and renovation our patient areas for inpatient, surgery and emergency care have all relocated and no longer provide convenient access to the former chapel.”Chapel design December 2013

The chapel will include a wall-sized customized wood frame with stained glass panels that are back lit with LED lights. “The design is absolutely beautiful, and will provide a quiet place for meditation and renewal our patients, families and staff,” Pat continued. For more information on how you help support this project, please contact Dawn Marnin, Foundation Director, 712-243-7409 or email mardd@casshealth.org.


Campaign to designate the Loess Hills as a National Reserve

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Loess Hills Alliance will be holding a series of public meetings to discuss the opportunity for a national reserve designation for the Loess Hills landform in western Iowa. If the land is designated as a national reserve, the region would be led by the locally-run Loess Hills Alliance, a 28-member board, and considered an affiliate of the National Park Service (NPS). The designation would provide landowners with access to additional financial assistance resources.

For the past fifteen years, the Loess Hills Alliance, which includes 21 members appointed by the County Boards of Supervisors from each of the 7 Loess Hills counties.has been protecting land in the Loess Hills and offering programs to help landowners with conservation of their land. The organization encourages tourism and residency in the Loess Hills, which supports small local businesses and agribusinesses in the region. The national reserve designation will allow the Loess Hills Alliance to provide increased technical, financial and program assistance to landowners, communities and local businesses.

The designation will also increase tourism and recreational opportunities that offer significant economic benefits. An estimated 1 million visitors travel the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway each year, stopping in the small towns and communities along the way. The Byway winds through prairie, woodland and farmland, offering scenic vistas and linking conservation areas. In partnership with the NPS, the Loess Hills Alliance can ensure that this natural treasure will be preserved for future generations of Iowans.

Meetings will be held in January to provide more information and to gather input from the public. All are invited to attend and join the discussion. More information about the Loess Hills Alliance can be found at www.loesshillsalliance.com.

The meetings will be held from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

Fremont County: January 8th at the “Gathering Place”, 609 Cass Street, in Sidney.

Harrison County: January 20th at the Community Center, 200 Maple Street, in Mondamin.

Mills County: January 16th at the Senior Center, 20 North Vine Street, in Glenwood.

Monona County: January 14th at the Onawa Community Center, 300 10th Street,  in Onawa.

Pottawattamie County: January 9th at the Iowa School for the Deaf, LMC Community Room, 3501 Harry Langdon Boulevard, in Council Bluffs.

(For other sites, see the link above)