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Atlantic jeweler wins national award

News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic business has won a national award from a group of over 850 retailers. Geis-Perry Jewelry owners Rich and Nedra Perry received the 2012 Diamond Importer of the Year award from the Retail Jewelers Organization (RJO). The award was presented during the RJO’s annual gala, held August 5th, in Milwaukee, WI.

Each year, the RJO selects one jeweler who participates in international diamond buying trips to Antwerp, Belgium, and excels in the selection, grading, and promotion of diamonds and diamond jewelry. One retail jeweler is selected annually, who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment in expanding their knowledge f diamonds, by traveling to the “Diamond Capital of the World,” to hand select diamonds for their store, and clients.

Shelby County Fire Danger back to the “HIGH” category today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A slight improvement in the atmospheric moisture content has prompted the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency to reduce the Fire Danger index from “Extreme” to “High,” where it had been for several weeks prior to Wednesday’s extremely dry and dangerous conditions. Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next few days and hopefully, some of that rain will fall over Shelby County.

Seivert is asking participating agencies in the County to move their “Fire Danger” signs back into the High Category. He says while the explosive conditions the area experienced Wednesday have moved on, the wind this (Thursday) afternoon and Friday are expected to increase into the 20-mph range.

Open burning is not recommended.  Please call the emergency management Agency at 755-2124 if you feel you need to burn during this time.

Iowa DOT cautions travelers about work zones over Labor Day holiday

News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation reminds motorists that travel during the upcoming Labor Day holiday may be slowed by road construction. The DOT says  several projects on Iowa’s interstate and state roadways may warrant advance planning on the part of drivers.

In Southwest Iowa, the projects include:

  • A staged bridge construction on U.S. 30 northeast of Woodbine in Harrison County has traffic restricted to one lane. Traffic is being maintained with temporary traffic signals.
  • A bridge deck overlay on U.S. 71 south of Atlantic in Cass County has traffic restricted to one lane. Traffic is being maintained with temporary traffic signals.

There are many other ongoing construction and maintenance projects affecting traffic on state, county and local road systems. Details of all current Iowa DOT construction projects can be found at www.511ia.org.

Tips for driving safely in work zones

  • Expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people may be working on or near the road.
  • Slow down and do not tailgate. Speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision.
  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and road workers and their equipment.
  • Pay attention to the signs. Warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that reads “End Road Work.”
  • Obey flaggers. The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely in the work zone. A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign; so, you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.
  • Stay alert and minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and avoid changing radio stations, using cell phones, texting or other distractions while driving in a work zone. Texting while driving is illegal in Iowa.
  • Keep up with the traffic flow. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by merging as soon as possible. Do not drive right up to the lane closure and then try to merge.
  • Be patient and stay calm. Work zones are not there to inconvenience travelers. Remember, road workers are improving the road for your use.
  • Watch for persons wearing high visibility (HiViz) apparel. All persons are required by federal law to wear HiViz apparel when in highway work zones.
  • Prepare for your trip to take a little more time. Check radio, TV or websites (www.511ia.org), call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide), or stay connected with 511 on Facebook or Twitter at www.iowadot.com/511/socialmedia.html, or on your mobile phone.
  • Expect delays and leave early so you can reach your destination on time.
  • Be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones.
  • Buckle up. Iowa law requires all persons to be buckled up in the front seat and all persons under age 18 to be buckled up, regardless of vehicle seating position.

SIRHA update

News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A representative of the Southern Iowa Regional Housing Authority (SIRHA) spoke before the Cass County Board of Supervisors during their meeting Wednesday, in Atlantic. Gene Eyberg told the Board the Creston-based organization subsidized 1,031 Section 8 housing units that are privately owned in a 13 County area. He says of those 1,031 units, 187 are located in Cass County. 2.3%, or 318 people, are actually being served through Section 8 Housing.

Eyberg says year-to-date, that amounts to $290,635. SIRHA, which provides rental assistance or rent subsidy to low income individuals, families, elderly or disabled who meet qualifying program guidelines utilizing different programs, has a budget of more than $5-million. The organization operates 2 rental assistance programs:  Public Housing and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Eyberg says most of their budget comes through the federal Housing and Urban Development program (HUD). He says HUD has insisted SIRHA dwindle-down their surplus funds which are used for everything that’s involved in the program. Eyberg says they are working to reduce the surplus, as directed. He says they’re proud of the rental assistance program, because it fosters independence and a sense of worth, once those who are enrolled successfully complete the requirements.

He says it encourages people to get out on their own, forward their education, market themselves, and increase their earning potential. The money it saves qualifying individuals also ultimately can be applied for the purchase of a new home. That’s because a portion of the rent that’s paid, goes into a trust fund. For more information, surf the web to www.sirha-ia.org.

8AM Newscast 08-23-2012

News, Podcasts

August 23rd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Drought intensifies in key farming states

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The latest update on the nation’s drought shows that the parched conditions continue worsening in key farm states even as the situation across all of the continental U.S. leveled off.  The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that more than two-thirds of Iowa, the nation’s biggest corn producer, was suffering extreme or exceptional drought – the worst two classifications – as of Tuesday. That’s up more than 5 percentage points from last week, despite cooler temperatures.  Nearly all of Nebraska and Missouri are in extreme or exceptional drought, narrowly ahead of Illinois and Kansas in those two categories. The amount of Nebraska afflicted with exceptional drought conditions – the most-serious level – remained unchanged while dropping only slightly in Illinois.

7AM Newscast 08-23-2012

News, Podcasts

August 23rd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Injury accident N. of Griswold this morning

News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Griswold Fire and Rescue crews were called to the scene of a single-vehicle injury accident this morning, north of Griswold. According to the Cass County Communications Center, a pickup truck left the road and entered the north ditch near the intersection of Highways 6 and 48, on Highway 6. The accident was reported just before 6:15-a.m.  The driver, and only occupant of the vehicle reportedly suffered from head injuries and chest pains. He was said to be conscious and breathing. No other information is currently available.

August could end long streak of warmer than normal weather

News, Weather

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Despite the warmer temperatures Wednesday, State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says August could break up a 10-month long streak in Iowa. Temperatures in August have averaged roughly two-and-a-half degrees cooler than normal. “Chances are fairly good we’ll end the month with below average temperatures, despite warmer weather off and on the next week or two,” Hillaker said. The cooler-than-normal trend in August is a drastic change from July – which entered the record books as the fourth warmest month, on average, in Iowa history. “We haven’t had a month averaging below normal dating all the way back to September 2011 and many of those months were quite a bit above normal” Hillaker said. “This has been quite a change from what we’ve been seeing.”

In July, the capital city of Des Moines recorded 10 days with a high temperature of at least 100 degrees. In August, there have been five days where multiple cities have posted record low temperatures. “Part of that is related to the fact that it’s just so darn dry,” Hillaker said. “We have very low humidity, which allows air to cool off much more at night than it would otherwise and that makes it easier to get unusually low temperatures.”

Iowa has posted nine consecutive weeks with below normal precipitation. There have been some unusual single day temperature swings in August as well. For example, on Tuesday, Hillaker said Mason City hit a low of 41 in the morning before warming up to 81 in the afternoon. Here in Atlantic, our 24-hour low Wednesday was 52. The thermometer darted up to 95 during the afternoon. That was just 5-degrees shy of tying the record High for August 22nd.

Authorities: Semi rollover may be attributed to sleepy driver

News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Investigators with the Council Bluffs Police Department think an accident Wednesday morning involving a semi which rolled into the median off of Interstate 29, was caused by a sleepy driver. According to reports, semi, driven by 24-year old James Balcome, of Minneapolis, MN, was traveling north on I-29, when the big rig left the road and overturned in the median on the northwest side of Council Bluffs.

Balcome was trapped, standing inside the cab of the truck when authorities arrived. He suffered from scrapes and cuts, but was otherwise uninjured. Police officers had to break out a remaining portion of the cab’s windshield to free the man, who was then able to walk out on his own. He transported to Alegent Health Mercy Hospital, for treatment.

Balcome was cited for failure to maintain control of a vehicle.