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Report: Hunger, poverty worse in rural areas of Midwest

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Despite being the breadbasket of the world, a new report shows poverty and food insecurity are rising faster in rural areas of the Midwest than in urban areas. The report from the Center for Rural Affairs covers Iowa and nine other states. Report author Jon Bailey, the center’s research director, says the poverty comes from scarce jobs and paltry salaries. “The jobs in those communities tend to be low-paying jobs,” Bailey says. “So when you add together low pay for the opportunities that are there and then a lack of opportunities, that’s going to lead to economic challenges like poverty and food insecurity.” Bailey’s report finds rural people who were food insecure accounted for nearly 13-percent of the region’s population in 2010. Rural children who were food insecure accounted for almost 24-percent. He says that issue needs to be addressed.

Bailey says “Rural communities are going to have to work on the access to food in their community and then create an economic climate that allows people to live there and afford what they need to live on in those communities.” Bailey says one of the best ways to help rural areas is through the federal Farm Bill, but he says prospects don’t look good right now. “Unfortunately, in some of the early versions of the Farm Bill, there is literally no funding for initiatives that would help that through the rural development section of the Farm Bill,” Bailey says. “We need to change that. We need to have rural communities help put an emphasis on the need for investment in their futures and in their economies to help create those better and well-paying jobs.” The Center for Rural Affairs is based in Lyons, Nebraska. The full report can be found at “cfra.org“.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 05-17-2012

News, Podcasts

May 17th, 2012 by admin

w/ Ric Hanson

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Harlan man plays the role of General Grenville Dodge

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Shelby County resident is being showcased in a new exhibit at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. Dan Bieker of Harlan was selected to be General Grenville Dodge in a new exhibit inside the museum. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum was constructing the exhibit to educate visitors on how the railroad was built west of Iowa. Bieker says the museum struggled to find an actor to play General Dodge so his family reached out to him. He says his sister-in-law and his photographer brother asked him to play the role after they were unsuccessful in finding an actor. They said Bieker had the right stature, facial features and age to try the role. He says it was fun, and an experience he never thought he would have. 

Theatrical makeup was applied to him and the camera crew added more silver to his hair to make him look like General Dodge. Once Bieker was ready to go, he was placed in front of the camera. He says after his audition, officials decided to make his character a part of the museum. Bieker is featured several times throughout the museum on a video screen. He introduces himself as “General Grenville Dodge, Union Pacific’s Chief Engineer,” at the start of construction of the U-P Railroad. He’s on three different screens throughout the museum. The other screens talk about how Dodge met President Abraham Lincoln, and how the railroad was built west of Omaha without any locally available materials – they had to be shipped-in, by steamboat. 

The museum officials told Bieker the display will be around for the next 20 to 30 years. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is located at 200 Pearl Street in Council Bluffs and is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesdays through Saturday. Admission is free. Bieker says it was an honor and a privilege to be chosen to play the role of General Dodge.

Public comment period on Chicago to Omaha passenger rail study to end May 21

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration and Illinois Department of Transportation, is about to wrap up the second public input portion of the Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study. Log on at www.iowadot.gov/chicagotoomaha/ to find out more from the online, self-directed open house meeting, which is active through Monday, May 21st, 2012. 

The open house is intended to illustrate various route alternatives, explain the process used to evaluate the route alternatives, discuss results of the alternatives analysis, and gain public input. One of the possible routes in the study would utilize the Iowa Interstate Railroad which passes through Iowa City, Des Moines and Atlantic.

All comments received during the public comment period will be reviewed and considered during development of the draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. which will be compiled and released to the public for additional input later this fall.

7AM Newscast 05-17-2012

News, Podcasts

May 17th, 2012 by admin

w/ Ric Hanson

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Montgomery Co. man arrested for child endangerment

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County say one-person was arrested late Wednesday on a couple of charges, following an incident in Grant. 34-year old Jeremiah John Wieseler, of Grant, was taken into custody at around just before midnight, on charges of Child Endangerment and Serious Assault, following the incident in the 400 block of Jefferson Avenue. Wieseler was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $2,000 bond. Sheriff’s deputies were assisted by the Montgomery County K-9 Unit, deputies with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Red Oak Police, in handling the incident.

Hospital in Jefferson gets $20M federal loan

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

JEFFERSON, Iowa (AP) — The Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson is getting $20 million in federal government loans to help expand and renovate the 75-year-old hospital. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s community facilities program is offering an $18 million direct loan and a $2 million guaranteed loan for the project. The hospital is the area’s largest employer with over 250 workers on staff. It has a payroll of more than $9 million. Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced the grant on Monday during a visit to the area. He says it’s part of the Obama administration’s effort to advance technology in rural health care. The USDA administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local rural development offices.

Accident in TX involving IWCC bus claims a life

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An accident Wednesday morning in West Lubbock, Texas involving a bus from Iowa Western Community College has taken the life of  one person. According to Lubbock NBC affiliate KCBD, 21-year-old Emily Leatherwood, of Brownfield, TX, died, after the car she was driving crashed IWCC bus, which was transporting athletes to the NJAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Lelleland, TX. 11 people were on the bus. Two of them reportedly suffered minor injuries, but refused medical treatment. Authorities in Texas said the bus was stopped at a railroad crossing when Leatherwood’s car hit the back of the bus. Under Texas law, buses are required to stop at railroad crossings. Failure to do so could cost the driver a fine amounting to as much as $500. Officials are trying to determine if something distracted Leatherwood, since there were no skid marks. The woman was not wearing her seat belt, as required by Texas law.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, May 17th 2012

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) — The Delaware County attorney says a Manchester couple found dead in their home on Mother’s Day were shot to death. The couple’s grandson, 17-year-old Isaiah Sweet, is charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder. He remains jailed on a $1 million bond.

TOLEDO, Iowa (AP) — A Tama volunteer firefighter has been arrested for allegedly setting a series of fires in the area. Eighteen-year-old Justin Anderson was charged on Monday with seven counts of arson. The Tama County sheriff’s office says he’s accused of setting fire to at least seven different rural properties, including two vacant homes and a barn, from March to May. Sheriff Dennis Kucera says Anderson is the son of Tama Fire Chief Ron Anderson.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Soy Energy officials believe an explosion at the company’s biodiesel plant in Mason City originated in a tank inside a restricted area. No one was injured in the blast that happened Tuesday evening. Jeff Oestmann, CEO and general manager of Soy Energy, says the investigation is ongoing. He says authorities are focusing on the tank, which had only minimal damage.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Lawyers representing a disgraced egg industry titan, his son and one of their company’s officers say their clients are potential targets of a criminal investigation into the 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands of Americans. In recent documents filed in a civil case in California, lawyers for Jack and Peter DeCoster and Quality Egg Chief Financial Officer Patsy Larson say a federal grand jury has been meeting to determine whether fraud or other crimes were committed in the production and testing of eggs in Iowa. Larson’s attorney says his client has been subpoenaed to testify next week.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Lawyers representing black job applicants turned down for positions with Iowa’s executive branch are appealing a ruling that dismissed their class-action lawsuit. Attorney Thomas Newkirk announced yesterday that he had filed a notice of appeal, and would ask the Iowa Supreme Court to reinstate the lawsuit. The high court could hear the case, or send it to the Court of Appeals.

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — A 43-year-old woman has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for stealing money from the northwest Iowa city of Storm Lake. Lee Martin was sentenced Monday for felony theft. A second felony charge was dropped as part of Martin’s plea deal with prosecutors.

SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are still trying to round up some wayward buffalo that escaped from a ranch in northwest Iowa. About 200 buffalo broke out of their pen at the Frick and Joe Buffalo Ranch in Sibley on Sunday. The animals have since been spotted in five counties Lyon, Osceola, Sioux and O’Brien counties in Iowa and Nobles County in Minnesota. No injuries have been reported, but motorists are asked to be careful while driving through the area.

Atlantic City Council approves budget amendment & hears about downtown revitalization

News

May 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, passed a resolution amending the Fiscal year 2012 Budget. The move followed a public hearing on the matter, during which no comments were received or heard. As mentioned earlier during our previous report on KJAN, City Administrator Doug Harris summed up the areas where the changes were to be made. They included Public Works, Culture and Recreation, Community and Economic Development, and Enterprise, which includes Storm Water and Sanitary Sewer cost overruns and unanticipated expenses.

Councilman Shaun Shouse clarified what the amendment really boils down to. He said “We have to amend the budget to have the authorization to spend the money.” Most of the areas are items where there will be income to offset the expenses. Shouse said it is not “all new tax revenue…the money is there, but (they) didn’t anticipate having to spend the money,” during the current Fiscal Year. Therefore they have to amend the budget in order to have the spending authority.

In his report to the Council, Doug Harris said he was pleased to announce progress was being made on the S.F. Martin House on Poplar Street (a local bed and breakfast) the exterior of which has been an eye sore for many years, and other properties within the city. Harris said the City has been encouraging property owners to take care of their property, under the Minimum Maintenance Code, which the Council approved last November, and is designed to: preserve the quality of buildings in Atlantic; to help preserve property values; and to prevent the spread of “Urban blight.” It requires property owners to keep structures in reasonably good repair.

Harris said also, he’s been working with several entities, including the Southwest Iowa Planning Council (SWIPCO), the Chamber of Commerce and USDA, to try and find funds to revitalize the downtown area, especially with regard to business facades, many of which are beginning to show wear due to age. He says there may be CDBG – Community Development Block Grant – funds available for those types of improvements. Another source of funding might be available to provide housing in the upper levels of downtown businesses, that would make those buildings “more viable,” according to Harris.

A meeting will be held at Noon on June 12th at SWIPCO in Atlantic, for downtown business owners, Chamber and other City leaders or officials, to explain what funds are available, how the process works, and how it could increase public and private investments. Darren Smith, Project Manager in the City of Woodbine, will be on-hand at the meeting as well, to explain the requirements and other related matters. A couple of years ago, Woodbine was awarded a $500,000 Downtown Revitalization Community Development Block Grant as part of a $900,000 Façade Master Plan to renovate 23 buildings in the City’s Main Street District.  (For more information on that project, go to http://www.woodbineia.org/main-street-chamber)

Harris said grant applications aren’t due until January 2013, so there is time to take a close look at how to proceed with any possible plans for downtown revitalization.