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Gun stolen from pickup in Council Bluffs


December 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs are investigating the theft of a handgun from a vehicle parked outside a home. According to Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers, a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol and its magazine were stolen from a Dodge pickup truck parked in the 200 block of Sylvan Drive. Meyers told the NonPareil the theft was reported at around 7-a.m., Wednesday.

Two other vehicles parked in the driveway of the same residence were also entered. And while papers from one of the vehicles were tossed around, police don’t believe anything was taken. There are no suspects in connection with the incidents.

Over 10 percent of Iowans remain uninsured


December 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A liberal advocacy group Wednesday, released a report about how the Affordable Care Act or “ObamaCare” is “working in Iowa.” Matt Sinovic of “Progress Iowa,” says 83 percent of the Iowans who got insurance through the federal exchange last year received tax credits which significantly decreased the cost of their insurance plan. “It’s important to look past all of the heated rhetoric and take a look at what the law is actually doing,” Sinovic says, “particularly here in the state of Iowa where we have seen incredible benefits from the Affordable Care Act.”

Sinovic cites another study which indicates Iowa hospitals saved 32 million dollars this past year because more uninsured Iowans were enrolled in Medicaid.  “So our hospitals are saving, our health care consumers are benefiting and Iowans are benefiting,” Sinovic says. Sinovic says just over 10 percent of Iowans are still uninsured and he’s urging those Iowans to see what kind of insurance subsidies they might qualify for under the Affordable Care Act.

The enrollment period is now open, through February 15th. Critics of “ObamaCare” say it will overload the nation’s health care system with previously uninsured patients demanding care and bankrupt the federal government. About 10 million Americans acquired subsidized insurance coverage last year due to the Affordable Care Act. Supporters of the law say it’s reducing health care costs, which went up less than three percent in the past year compared to double-digit increases before the law took effect.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa Chamber Alliance releases legislative goals


December 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Chamber Alliance released its legislative goals for the upcoming session. I-C-A executive director, John Stineman, says one of their key goals is to improve the Iowa workforce. “It’s really our fundamental issue this year, and it’s come to a boiling point,” Stineman says. “We need to take a look and make sure we have a cohesive strategy going forward. We have some pretty serious issues right now with the workforce and if we get them right, we can really double down and expand on our economic opportunity. And if we don’t, there’s some real risk.”

Stineman says the first key is to ensure Iowa students graduating from high school and college are ready to either enter the workforce or go onto the next level of education to improve their skills. “Number two, we need to upscale our workforce and address the skills gap. We need fewer low skilled workers, we need them up to the middle skill and high scale jobs to help drive our economy in the 21st century,” according to Stineman. “We need to make sure Iowa is an attractive place where people want to come so we can work on our rather flat population growth.”

The I-B-C is made up of the 16 largest chambers of commerce in the state and he says those leaders are also interested in improving the state’s tax system. “We’re concerned about Iowa’s tax complexity and we do feel like there is an opportunity for Iowa to compete a little bit stronger by simplifying and reducing our corporate and individual income taxes,” he explains. “We’re looking at some different economic development incentives we think would provide Iowa with some unique opportunities, including some renewable biochemical incentives.”

Stineman says they remain concerned about the states infrastructure and the need to provide more money to fix roads and bridges. He says the recent talks about coming up with a solution are encouraging. “I would say we’re cautiously optimistic. We’re seeing a very reasonable dialogue on the issue of the fuel tax. I think there’s a growing recognition that there’s a need and we are not going to get there on our current path,” Stineman says. He says they want to see the continued improvement of broadband service as part of the improving infrastructure.

Stineman says they are looking at these issues with the understanding that the ag sector and lower commodity prices have had an impact on the state’s economy. “There’s is an expectation that this could be a potentially tighter budget year and we are going to wait and see what those final numbers are. But we are coming into it with a realistic expectation. The one thing that we would want to make sure happens — even in a tight budget year — that those economic development incentives are fully and appropriately funded, so we get that return on investment from economic growth that ultimately helps those tax receipts,” Stineman says.

You can find out more about the I-C-A on its website at: www.iowachamberalliance.com.

(Radio Iowa)

Vision Iowa Board awards CAT grant to project in Greene County


December 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A small town in west-central Iowa was awarded a 220-thousand dollar ($220,000) state grant Wednesday for the construction of a new community center. Diane Wise has helped lead the fundraising effort in Grand Junction. She says the town’s old community center was shut down this summer. “It had black mold, the ceiling was falling in, the floor was falling in, it was just an old, old building,” Wise said. “It is the center of everything in Grand Junction…and it was closed just because it was no longer useable.” The Vision Iowa Board awarded Grand Junction with a Community Attraction and Tourism grant. The total cost of building the new community center is estimated at one-point-one million dollars ($1.1 million).

Grand Junction - proposed Community Center

Grand Junction – proposed Community Center

The building will house the city hall and council chambers and will include a kitchen, a meeting room, and a larger space to accommodate groups of roughly 200 people. Wise has high hopes for the project’s ability to revitalize the town of 800 people. “We’ve got new businesses approaching us about coming into town and this building is just going to draw more and more to the community,” Wise said. “This is a catalyst to a new community.”

While she’s been the driving force behind the project, the 63-year-old Wise is not even a resident of Grand Junction. Her address is rural Jefferson. Wise’s husband, David, died in 2002. He grew up in Grand Junction and Wise has been pushing for the new community center as a way to honor her late husband. David Wise, a Vietnam War veteran, died of lung cancer likely linked to exposure to Agent Orange.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Dec. 11th 2014


December 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Aside from increased demand for corn to make food sweeteners and a boost in soybean exports, few adjustments are found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest crop update. Farmers in 22 states including Iowa and Nebraska expect record corn yields this year as part of the anticipated record 14.41 billion-bushel crop. Soybean farmers expect a record 3.96 billion bushel harvest.

ARLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 16-year-old has been taken into custody following a bomb threat at a northeast Iowa high school. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office says the male teenager was taken into custody after a handwritten message about a bomb threat was found Wednesday morning at Starmont High School in Arlington. Authorities did not find any bomb.

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (AP) — A 23-year-old Iowa man has been convicted of killing a northeast Nebraska woman almost a year ago. The six-day trial ended Tuesday evening when the Dakota County District Court jury found Raymond Gonzales Junior guilty of first-degree murder and a weapons charge.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Residents in a western Iowa city are celebrating the installation of a large steel sculpture on the Missouri River bank. The Daily Nonpareil reports a ceremony was held Tuesday at a Council Bluffs park to mark the installation of “Big Mo” by 81-year-old Mark di Suvero. The nearly 76-feet high piece painted in “spacetime orange” has three legs and two moving parts on top that rotate in opposite directions.

Iowa group wants lawyers to pay $100 annual fee


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Legal Aid wants the state’s lawyers to be required to contribute $100 annually to the charity, which represents people with low incomes. Some lawyers say it’s wrong to require such contributions, even to a valuable organization that provides legal services in civil cases. The group’s executive director says the number of people eligible for services has increased by almost 40 percent between 2000 and 2010.

According to a report from Supreme Court staff, the money the nonprofit receives from two big donors has declined. The Des Moines Register reports the mandatory fee could raise $903,400 of about $1.8 million needed to increase the number of staff attorneys.

Eight other states currently require attorneys to pay similar fees.

Ambassadors visit Atlantic High School


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Area Chamber Ambassadors visited the Atlantic High School recently, to learn about hands-on programs for students in the Agriculture, Industrial Technology and Culinary Arts departments. Eric Miller, Agricultural Instructor and FFA Advisor at AHS, explained the variety of classes he instructs. Miller instructs two welding classes that are hands-on and take place in the shop located within the school.

Pictured: Dolly Bergmann, JoAnn Runyan, Chelsea Amundson, Matt Alexander, Heather McKay, Connie Wailes, Janet Cappel, Nedra Perry, Rich Perry, Pat McCurdy, Tammy Waters, Sue Muri, Lana Westphalen, Debbie Leistad, Renee Wilson, Home Sweet Home, Crystal Christensen, Julie May, Dr. Keith Leonard, Russell Joyce, Kate Olsen, JoAnne Mueller, Dr. Haley Kickland, Carole Schuler, Melanie Petty, Dr. Jim Kickland, Lucas Mosier, Chip Hansen, Dr. Mitch Peerbolte.

Pictured: Dolly Bergmann, JoAnn Runyan, Chelsea Amundson, Matt Alexander, Heather
McKay, Connie Wailes, Janet Cappel, Nedra Perry, Rich Perry, Pat McCurdy, Tammy
Waters, Sue Muri, Lana Westphalen, Debbie Leistad, Renee Wilson, Home Sweet Home, Crystal Christensen, Julie May, Dr. Keith Leonard, Russell Joyce, Kate Olsen, JoAnne Mueller, Dr. Haley Kickland, Carole Schuler, Melanie Petty, Dr. Jim Kickland, Lucas Mosier, Chip Hansen, Dr. Mitch Peerbolte.

Miller also instructs Ag Processes, a course focused on turning livestock and crops into food, Ag Business, and Agronomy. Ambassadors were also educated on student projects taking place in Industrial Technology by Mr. Derek Bair – Industrial Tech Instructor and Culinary Arts by Mrs. Meryl Hopper-Henningsen, Culinary Arts Instructor.

Iowa Finance Authority Awards more than $7.3 million to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to Move Local Affordable Housing Priorities Forward


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors today (Wednesday) approved a total of more than $7.3 million in grants to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to support local affordable housing initiatives, which will assist 2,336 Iowa families.

In the KJAN listening area, the following entities received grants:

  • The Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund, Inc. – $180,234, for the City of Council Bluffs.
  • Council of Governments Housing, Inc. – $283,273. Area served: Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie and Sac Counties.
  • Southern Iowa COG Housing Trust Fund – $275,217; Area served: Adair, Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Madison, Ringgold, Taylor and Union Counties
  • Southwest Iowa Housing Trust Fund, Inc. – $350,669; Area served: Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie (excluding the city of Council Bluffs) and Shelby Counties.

The funding is provided from the State Housing Trust Fund’s Local Housing Trust Fund program. Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison says  “The Iowa Legislature created the Local Housing Trust Fund program to allow certified Local Housing Trust Funds the ability to efficiently fulfill unique local affordable housing needs throughout the state and these awards will do just that. The grants are leveraging an additional $4.1 million in local contributions, which is a testament to the shared dedication of meeting these vital needs.”

The grant funds will be used for initiatives such as preserving aging housing stock, subsidizing local down payment assistance programs, providing low-interest loans or grants to assist Iowans in home rehabilitation, financing construction of new single-family housing for low-income Iowans and supporting housing for persons with disabilities and homeless assistance programs.

Five New Containers Across State to Help Combat Clandestine Labs


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Des Moines, IOWA – The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Narcotics Enforcement (DNE) continues to be a leader in illegal narcotics investigations.  With the help of the DEA, five new large containers have been installed and strategically placed across the state, where methamphetamine production is more prevalent.ContainerPic The containers are 7’x7’x9’ and include an exhaust system and are under 24/7 supervision and in locked and secured areas.  The containers are housed at the following locations:

  • Montrose, Iowa
  • Clinton, Iowa
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa

DEA requires that all law enforcement officers utilizing these containers have a minimum 40 hour clandestine lab certification and complete a 3-day DEA container course. All local agencies that have signed agreements with the DNE will have to follow the DEA and DNE protocols to be able to utilize the container located nearest to them.

The Iowa DNE recognizes the extremely toxic chemicals with methamphetamine labs pose a serious safety risk to the public. These containers allow for safe disposal, greatly minimizing the safety risks to the public.

The Iowa DNE also recognizes the growing concern of local agencies and task forces across the state meeting budgets and having to deal with the costs of disposing of methamphetamine laboratories.  To properly dispose of methamphetamine labs, it can cost several thousands of dollars per lab. For this reason, the Iowa DNE felt these containers would be a great resource to our law enforcement partners and take the burden off of Iowa taxpayers.

“We greatly value our partnership with our local agencies and task forces, and the work they do to bring an end to illegal narcotics in our state.  Safety of the citizens of our state is our number one priority. With these containers in place, the DNE, along with local agencies, will be able to safely and properly dispose of all materials from Clandestine Labs, and they’ll be able to do that at no cost,” stated Paul Feddersen, Assistant Director of the Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa Department of Public Safety.

The Iowa DNE is eager for this continued partnership with the DEA and Iowa law enforcement agencies as we work together to reduce Clandestine Labs and illegal narcotics in our state.

More containers may be placed across the state in the future, after the five initial containers are evaluated.

2 injured when semi driver falls asleep and crashes in Adair County


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The driver and a passenger in a semi tractor trailer were injured this (Wednesday) morning, when the rig entered a ditch of Interstate 80 in Adair County, and crashed into an embankment. The Iowa State Patrol said 41-year old Alan Martin Johnson, of Milwaukee, WI, was traveling west on I-80 at around 7:50-a.m. about 4-miles east of Adair, when he fell asleep at the wheel of the 2014 Freightliner semi.

The truck left the road and entered the north ditch. It continued down the ditch, jumped a deep creek and crashed head-on into the embankment. Johnson, who was wearing a seat belt, and a passenger in the cab, 51-year old Rigoberto Deleon Quiles, of Chicago, who was not buckled-in, were trapped in the vehicle, and had to be freed by mechanical means.

Johnson was transported to the Adair County Hospital in Greenfield by Adair Fire and Rescue. Quiles was taken by Stuart Rescue to Mercy Hospital, in Des Moines. A report on their conditions is not available.