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Branstad sets goal for raising student test scores

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad wants Iowa to be in the top 10 states for student standardized reading and math scores by 2019.  Branstad laid out the goal during a news conference Monday, as he continued to push lawmakers to approve his $187 million education reform plan.

Arguing that the state needs “world class schools,” Branstad noted Iowa now ranks 25th in the nation for eighth grade math and 29th for fourth grade reading. He said he wants to get those scores into the top 10 by boosting minimum teacher salaries and pay incentives to senior teachers who take on tasks like mentoring.

Lawmakers are reviewing Branstad’s proposal, but there has been some conflict with Democratic legislators who want to first set a general level of school funding.

Iowa State updating weather reporting stations

News, Weather

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa State University is updating its statewide network of automatic weather reporting stations.  ISU Extension agronomist Elwynn Taylor says the updated stations will provide information on soil moisture and crop water consumption, letting farmers know the limits being placed on crop yield “by water stress as the season progresses.”

The new stations are replacing units that have been in place for more than 30 years. The networked readings will be monitored on the Mesonet (http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/ ).    The new stations also will measure rain, air and soil temperature, humidity, sunlight, wind speed and direction. The units will be solar powered.  The goal is to have at least one station in every county.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board to meet Tuesday evening

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(This is a correction to a previous posting which indicated the meeting is Feb. 11th)

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will hold a special meeting Tuesday evening (Feb. 12th), at City Hall. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring released the meeting agenda late this morning. During the session, the Board will take action on the contract and plans with Snyder and Associates, for the Parks and Rec Dept. office and Maintenance Building after they are presented for approval. The Board will also act on the Master Plan for the Schildberg Recreation area.

The meeting takes place at 5:15-p.m. in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall.

8AM Newscast 02-11-2013

News, Podcasts

February 11th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

7AM Newscast 02-11-2013

News, Podcasts

February 11th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Iowa utility still weighing future nuclear plant

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — MidAmerican Energy is still considering building a new nuclear power plant as part of its long-term plans in Iowa. The Des Moines Register reports MidAmerican President William Fehrman told state regulators the utility may try to build a nuclear plant at some point. MidAmerican, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska based Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated, is converting coal plants at Council Bluffs and Sioux City to natural gas. And it has invested heavily in 2,200 megawatts of wind power capacity.

But Fehrman says he wants to make sure MidAmerican has a diverse mix of fuels, and he’s not convinced that natural gas will remain as cheap as it is now. The utility will provide more details of its plans this summer in a report to regulators.

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., Feb. 11th 2013

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

GRUNDY CENTER, Iowa (AP) — Iowa authorities say icy roads contributed to a one-vehicle accident that killed one woman and injured two other people. The accident happened early yesterday in Grundy County on Highway 14. One of the passengers, 44-year-old Sheila Cole of Grundy Center died in the crash. Eilers and another passenger, 49-year-old Harvin Rust of Grundy Center was injured. A third passenger, 48-year-old Susan Halbach of Grundy Center was not seriously hurt.

ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) — Iowa authorities have identified the man who died after falling through the ice on a private pond. The Adair County Sheriff’s office tells Atlantic radio station KJAN-AM that 62-year-old James Wallace of Casey died Friday night.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — MidAmerican Energy is still considering building a new nuclear power plant as part of its long-term plans in Iowa. MidAmerican, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated is converting coal plants at Council Bluffs and Sioux City to natural gas. And it has invested heavily in 2,200 megawatts of wind power capacity.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Colt Ryan scored 33 points Sunday night and Evansville defeated Drake 84-78 in overtime last night. Richard Carter scored 13 points, Seth VanDeest scored 11 and Jordan Clarke had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs on the road in Evansville, Indiana.

Red Oak woman arrested on probation & driving charges

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak report the arrest Sunday afternoon of a Red Oak woman. 47-year-old Amy Jo Ross was taken into custody following a traffic stop at around 4-p.m.  She was charged with a probation violation and driving while barred. Ross was transported to the Montgomery County Jail and held on bond amounting to $15,000.

Stuart man sought by authorities after wild chase and crash late last week

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Guthrie County are on the lookout for a man wanted in connection with a wild pursuit that took place late last week. According to the Stuart Police Department, an officer tried to stop a vehicle driven by 25-year old Alex Nolan, of Stuart, at around 11:40-p.m. Thursday. Officials say Nolan, who has been barred from driving since March 2011 for being a Habitual Offender, failed to stop for the officer when he activated his emergency lights and siren. The vehicle Nolan was driving was headed north on Adair Street at around 50-to 60-miles per hour, when it hit a set of railroad tracks at Adair and Front Streets.  The impact launched the vehicle 65-feet into the air before it came crashing down in the middle of Front Street.

Despite having sustained severe damage from the crash, the vehicle continued north on Adair Street, until its engine finally gave out when it pulled into the Stuart Speedway. Officials say Nolan then took off on foot  into the woods just east of the speedway. Two male passengers in  the vehicle suffered minor injuries during the crash and were transported to the Guthrie County Hospital by Stuart Rescue.

The Guthrie and Adair County Sheriff’s Department, Panora Police Department, and Stuart Rescue all responded and assisted Stuart Police in attempting to locate Nolan in the woods, but were unsuccessful. He’s currently facing criminal charges that include driving while bared, eluding, interference with official acts, reckless driving, and numerous traffic offenses.

Landlords and cities fight over tenant limits

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Round one of a battle between landlords and cities went to the landlords. During a legislative subcommittee meeting last week, property owners told lawmakers that cities are passing ordinances limiting the number of unrelated people who can live together in dwellings designed to be single family homes. Kelli Excell is with a leading property management firm in Ames. “We have had a problem and it’s being adopted throughout more and more cities throughout Iowa, to my knowledge, Waterloo, Iowa City, Ames, Davenport,” Excell says. She says property owners should be able to rent out their dwellings as they please within some reasonable limits.

Some of the strongest supporters of the restrictive ordinances are from college towns, including Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat from Ames. “Who will have an advantage from passing this billI? It is landlords who will make a larger profit,” according to Wessel-Kroeschell. She lives in a neighborhood of older homes near the I-S-U campus. Wessel-Kroeschell says many college students don’t mind sleeping in basements or in dining rooms or doubling up in bedrroms if they can live with their friends. “But what happens to our neighborhood when this happens? We see couches molding on sagging porches, our lawns are littered with beer bottles, and those lawns are turned into parking lots,” Wessel-Kroeschel says.

Or things can be worse if the lawns become a place for drunken college students to urinate or vomit as they stagger home from parties. Homeowners complain of a threat to property values. Cities have geared up to stop the bill. David Adelman is with the Metropolitan Coalition, representing the state’s ten largest cities. He says they oppose the legislation and support the majority opinion of the Iowa Supreme court which ruled in favor of the city of Ames, when the Ames Rental Property Association sued to get the ordinance thrown out. Justices concluded that keeping single family neighborhoods single family is a legitimate government interest. A minority opinion asserted it’s irrational to say a family of any size can live in a home, but only three unrelated people can. Republicans call it government overreach. And they have an ally with Marty Ryan, a one-time lobbyist for the A-C-L-U.

“We’re okay with the government knowing approximately how many people can live in a building. We’re not okay with the government knowing who lives in a particular building,” Ryan says. “To me that is a very scary thought.” The landlords argue that in the current economy some homeowners are just trying to avoid foreclosure by taking in renters. And they accuse the other side of elitism. The neighborhood advocates say they’re trying to protect middle-income homeowners with little political influence. The bill sailed through a House committee. Only four Democrats voted against it, two of them from college towns. One clinching argument came from Mount Pleasant Republican David Heaton. He once shared a house in Des Moines with three other Republican lawmakers during the legislative session.

“We lived on the south side, but the way the law reads in West Des Moines right now, those four legislators who wanted to live together and rent a house would not be able to do so,” according to Heaton. “I think we need to leave it up to the landlord to make those decisions.” Advocates for the neighborhoods say four legislators is one thing, four frat boys is another. The bill now goes to the full House for debate.

(Radio Iowa)