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Iowa Among the Top States for Clean Energy Job Creation

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

URBANDALE, Iowa – As the Iowa job market continues to bounce back slowly from the depths of the economic downturn, one industry that’s leading the way is clean energy. The state ranked fifth in the nation in the fourth quarter with 650 new jobs announced in such areas as wind energy, biofuels, and recycling. Among those hoping that trend will continue is Mark Schroder, who runs LED Source of Urbandale. gr-38278-1-1

“We are a LED-lighting-retrofit company,” he said. “We do some new construction, but a majority of our business is retrofitting existing business owners. And we’re certainly trying to do our part to hire more people and do what we can to keep the economy in Iowa turning.” Schroder said some of his customers are also hiring more staff, thanks to the savings from moving to more-energy-efficient lighting.

The growth in clean energy jobs is not only helping economically, but is also promoted as providing environmental benefits like curbing climate change. That’s been helped in recent years in Iowa and across the country with the availability of certain tax credits, but Schroder noted that most of those now have been changed dramatically or eliminated altogether. “And in fact we’ve had a few customers tell us that they were going to put their projects on hold due to that particular situation, so we’d certainly like to see that legislation come back,” he said. “And it certainly would help not only our business, but many other businesses as well.”

Nationwide, nearly 80,000 clean-energy and clean-transportation jobs were announced in 2013, based on more than 260 projects tracked by the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

Iowa clean energy jobs information is at CleanEnergyWorksForUs.org.

(Iowa News Service)

8AM Newscast 03-24-2014

News, Podcasts

March 24th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 03-24-2014

News, Podcasts

March 24th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Spring is here along with new risks. Be prepared during Severe Weather Awareness Week

News, Weather

March 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With winter behind us, Iowans need to get in the mindset to be prepared for different potential weather dangers associated with spring — like hail, lightning, flash flooding and tornadoes. Jeff Johnson, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says today (Monday) marks the start of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. One key element will be a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday morning. “We’ll have the watch at 10, followed by a Tornado Warning at about 10:15,” Johnson says. “It’s an excellent time to exercise your home plan, if you have one, or your school response to a tornado or your business response.”

Each day this week will focus on different types of severe weather, including flash flooding, severe thunderstorms, developing a family emergency plan and how watches and warnings have changed in recent years. Johnson says 2013 was another unusual year as Iowa had very few tornadoes.  “The numbers were inflated a little bit from that event in early October, particularly in northwest Iowa, but if you took that out, if you take out that event and Belmond, we had seven tornadoes in the Belmond area in June of last year, it was very quiet,” Johnson says. “Even with those two events, we had in the upper 20s for tornadoes.”

Iowa averages 48 tornadoes a year, but recorded 120 twisters in 2004. Johnson says it’s difficult to predict what kind of year will be ahead, especially after such a cold, snowy winter.
“It all depends on where the weather patterns set up in April, May and June,” Johnson says. “I always tell everybody prepare for the worst and we’re going to have severe weather at some point. We’re going to have tornadic storms, flash flooding storms, large hail and wind.”

This month, the National Weather Service will hold storm spotter classes across Iowa. The classes offer information about cloud development, how to spot tornadoes and more. Learn more about Severe Weather Awareness Week and the spotter classes at www.weather.gov/dmx.

(Radio Iowa)

Burglary-connected arrest in Red Oak

News

March 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak report an arrest has been made in connection with a recent burglary. Officials say 25-year old Jacob Nathaniel Forward, of Red Oak, was arrested at a residence on east Nuckols Street at around 11:35-p.m. Sunday, on a charge of Burglary in the 2nd Degree. Forward was brought to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center and held on $10,000 bond.

Hamburg duo arrested on drug charges

News

March 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A man and woman from Hamburg were arrested on drug charges early Sunday morning near Thurman. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office reports a vehicle driven by 25-year old Brent Allen Neal was pulled over at around 2:20-a.m. Sunday, during a routine traffic stop near the intersection of Bluff Road and 155th Street.

During the stop, deputies detected odors of marijuana and alcohol coming from the vehicle. A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Neal, and a passenger in the vehicle, 21-year old Kaisa Vaughn Rush, were arrested on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Neal was also charged with Operating While Intoxicated/1st Offense.

The pair were brought to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and released on bond.

GOP candidates say “Bruce Braley’s ObamaCare” to be decising issue of 2014 race

News

March 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Republicans vying for their party’s U.S. Senate nomination all consider “ObamaCare” to be the G-O-P’s strongest weapon against Congressman Bruce Braley, the only Democrat running for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat this year. But Braley is still touting the Affordable Care Act. President Obama issued a statement Sunday to mark the fourth anniversary of the health care law, dismissing what he called the “outdated obsession” of critics to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.

Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has a different name for the law. “Bruce Braley’s ObamaCare,” Ernst says on the campaign trail. Candidate Sam Clovis  has said ObamaCare will be “ugly” for Braley. “He was the last person to speak on the floor of the House before the Affordable Care Act was passed,” Clovis said during a forum last week. “…He has a lot of things to answer for.”

Candidate Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines says ObamaCare has created head-aches for businesses. “When you go through the pages and pages and pages of regulation to define what is a full-time employee to determine if you are subject to the rules or not, it’s next to impossible for anybody to possibly understand that,” Jacobs said last week during a National Federation of Independent Business forum. Candidate Matt Whitaker predicts “ObamaCare” will be this fall’s deciding issue.

“It is not going to be a campaign about the Republican nominee,” Whitaker said recently. “This is going to be a campaign about Bruce Braley and his record that is bad for Iowa.” Braley isn’t backing away from the law. “I think Democrats need to do a better job of telling the stories of the people whose lives have been positively changed by the Affordable Care Act and I think that’s the message I’ll be talking about as I travel around Iowa,” Braley said last Thursday.

Braley held 17 town hall meetings in the months before and after passage of the Affordable Care Act, often telling audiences about his nephew who survived liver cancer when he was two. “His parents…had the best insurance you could get in Iowa and they were prevented at that time from changing jobs because he would have been prevented from getting reimbursement because of his pre-existing condition,” Braley said late last week. “His parent no longer have to worry about that and, in fact, have been able to change their jobs and know that their son is going to be able to continue to receive care even with his pre-existing condition.”

Fifty-two percent of the Iowans surveyed in December by Quinnipiac University said they were LESS likely to support a candidate who supports the Affordable Care Act. A Quinnipiac poll taken in early March found Braley leading potential Republican challengers in head-to-head match-ups by between nine and 13 percentage points.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., March 24th 2014

News

March 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Snow is expected in eastern Nebraska and Iowa today. The National Weather Service says a fast-moving storm will deliver a quick blast of snow from the northwest. Forecasters say much of Iowa will receive 1-to-2 inches of snow by Monday evening.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The outgoing chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party supports legalizing the medical use of marijuana. GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker wrote an opinion column The Des Moines Register ran Sunday arguing that Republicans should support medical marijuana. Spiker submitted his resignation earlier this month, and a vote on his replacement is scheduled for March 29th.

TAMA, Iowa (AP) — Officials in the central Iowa town of Tama are optimistic that an idle beef processing plant will reopen soon and add hundreds of jobs. The Times-Republican reports the former Tama Pack facility is expected to reopen as Iowa Premium Beef sometime this year once remodeling is complete. Tama Mayor Dan Zimmerman says he’s optimistic about the company’s prospects although the timing of the reopening remains uncertain.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — DeAndre Kane drove for the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left and Number 3 seed Iowa State beat North Carolina 85-83 on Sunday, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000. The Cyclones head to Madison Square Garden next week to face Number 7 seed Connecticut in the East Regional semifinals.

Federal flood insurance costs to jump in Iowa

News

March 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new law will roll back the eye-popping federal flood insurance premium increases that have hit the wallets of some Iowa homeowners and business owners, but the relief may not be long-lived. Congress passed a federal flood insurance reform act in 2012 that was aimed at reducing the government’s burden in subsidizing the National Flood Insurance Program. It had policyholders paying rates based on the true flood risk of their property.

The president signed a bill Friday that softens the blow, but will still hike premiums for more than 4,500 Iowa homeowners up to 18 percent annually. Some 1,800 policyholders on second homes and businesses will face a mandatory 25 percent increase. A Fort Dodge woman had faced a 575 percent increase, but may get some money back.

Snow expected Monday in eastern Neb., Iowa

News, Weather

March 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Snow is expected in eastern Nebraska and Iowa on Monday. The National Weather Service says a fast-moving storm will deliver a quick blast of snow to the area. The storm will move in from the northwest.

Most of eastern Nebraska will receive less than an inch of snow, but it could fall during the morning commute. Forecasters say much of Iowa will receive 1-to-2 inches of snow by Monday evening.